The Isle of Wight on the south coast of England is a sleepy seaside island known for its sailing and slow-paced staycations. Reinventing hospitality on the island to attract a nationwide audience is The Hut: a buzzy beachfront restaurant that has transformed the formerly dilapidated stretch of coastline into a chic, high-energy restaurant.
The Hut reopened this year for its ninth season, bringing a touch of the French Riviera with nautical English style to Colwell Bay nearby the island’s iconic needle rocks. A magnet for laissez-faire lunches and al fresco dining throughout the summer months, guests can travel either by ferry, being picked up by one of the restaurant’s two Land Rover 101’s, aptly named, ‘Surf’ and ‘Turf’ from nearby Yarmouth or can be tendered in from their boat when dropping anchor outside the restaurant.
The competitive quality of service and food has meant The Hut has established itself as one of the UK’s most iconic coastal destinations. Welcoming back fun-loving groups to its shoreline each year, it has built a reputation as the island’s most in-demand hot spots, complete with chic whitewashed furnishings, ocean views (now considered one of the best spots to watch the sunset in the UK) and a live DJ to keep the drinks flowing.
New to the line-up this year is head chef Lucian Romocea. Having worked as a chef in Barcelona, he has introduced to The Hut his Catalan cooking style alongside chef director Ian Dawboth formerly of London’s city hot spot The Ned. Having launched a new menu for the summer season, now on The Hut’s menu are flavoursome dishes unique to the island. These dishes include seared seabass with maitake dashi, yuzu kosho, pak choi and monks’ beard, along with the gambas a la cazuela, with chorizo, and piquello pepper ragu.
Its seaside setting makes The Hut a prime spot for fresh, locally caught seafood and shellfish, this includes each crab and lobster served being caught fresh in the waters that surround the island for a sea-to-plate experience.
Continuing with the local culinary focus, this year The Hut has incorporated into their menu locally grown cucamelons and micro herbs, whilst continuing to work closely with an island forager who supplies sea herbs and sea lettuce. Signature seafood dishes on the menu range from roasted cod with white beans, spring vegetables, smoked pancetta and jalapeño, or freshly caught crab with a crab gnocchi bisque, served with crisp capers and sea lettuce.
An opportunity to let loose and indulge, standout grazing platters to share steal the show. For a minimum of two people, choose from the fruits de mer: a display of oysters, crevettes, Atlantic prawns, spider crab, razor clams, red tuna, seabass sashimi, potted shrimp, pickled cockles and whelks, with the added option for lobster at a premium. Meanwhile, the ‘Surf N Turf’ balances out the seafood with some red meat options. Expect a proud platter of tender Macken Brothers’ 35-day dry-aged porterhouse steak, a whole native lobster, crevettes and bone marrow. This comes with a garden salad, fries, Madeira Jus, béarnaise and chimichurri sauces.
The Hut’s staple drink of choice for many is rosé wine, pale, and predominantly Provencial. Many come served in mighty magnums including Château d’Esclans Côtes de Provence, Rosé, Château Saint Esprit, Léoube or Garrus. Meanwhile at the bar, cocktails pack a punch from espresso martinis to passionfruit margaritas enjoyed either by the bar downstairs where the DJ resides, or upstairs in the lounge bar area.
Located on the north western coast of the Isle of Wight, The Hut is a quick ferry crossing away, or alternatively a twenty-minute RIB journey from Lymington and a 35-minute RIB journey from Southampton.
Whether by sea, air, train or nearby, visitors can arrange travel via one of their partners. The team also offer a personal tender service that operates throughout the day and offers to collect you from your own boat, guaranteeing an exciting and swift docking to your table. Alternatively, day-trippers can take advantage of The Hut’s collection service and be picked up in one of their renovated Land Rover 101’s.
Address: The Hut, Colwell Bay, Isle of Wight, PO40 9NP
Phone: 01983 898 637